**Explore more of the chianti wine region with me in Tuscany (Toscana) Italy. Learn about the making of chianti classico and catch a snippet of our vineyard and wine cellars tour at the Castello Vicchiomaggio. Then, enjoy a drive with us through the Tuscan countryside to check out the second largest town in Tuscany- Siena- and its breathtaking Duomo di Siena.**
How to Visit Tuscan Vinyards
You’ll read it almost everywhere- wine tasting in Tuscany is NOT like wine tasting in California- and many tourists will make this mistake thinking they can just roll up on vineyards and expect a sampling of the vine juice. I too originally thought this.
I was devastated to learn that California style wine tasting is not the way things work in the Chianti wine region of Tuscany. I’m not a huge fan of scheduling things in advance and committing to certain times, at least not while on vacay. We had SO many places to wander around and see, and preferred to be guided by the Tuscan wind rather than my watch which was probably still set on California time anyway.
However, if you want to do Tuscany right, you really should choose in advance one or two Tuscan vineyards you would like to visit.
Here are some options to get you started:
Castello di Verrazzano– We visit in this video: Tuscan Vinyards and San Gimignano
Castello Vicciomaggio– We visit in this video: Chianti Wine Region and Siena
Banfi-This is one of the largest wineries in Tuscany!
Panzello–Quite a sexy website this one has
Dianella– This one is elegant- a setting for fine Italian weddings
Fontodi– No fee for wine tasting at this one!
The entire Internet will tell you to book tours of Tuscany, tours of the vineyards, bicycling tours, chianti wine tours, hilltop town tours and walking around tours in order to see Tuscany. While tours with drivers can be convenient, don’t be led to think the Chianti wine region is too confusing to figure out without a tour guide- it’ s not. Tuscany is ALL beautiful and even if you were just to stumble upon towns, restaurants and vineyards you would probably still love every minute of your experience there.
While you can easily live without a day long tour guide, it is nice to book small tours within the places you do plan to visit. So if you want to visit any of the vineyards I listed above, I’d suggest looking at their website or communicating with them directly (yes, this is sometimes necessary) to book a wine tasting appointment/ castle and vineyard tour. They usually have a variety of options and sometimes their tours will include lunch or dinner. It will be fabulous anywhere you decide to go.
Where to stay in Tuscany
Naturally, when you’re in Tuscany you will want to stay either in a castle surrounded by a vineyard or on an Italian countryside farm. It’s the only way to go.
There are so many of these amazing vinyard/ bed and breakfast style places to choose from, and and most have completely reasonable prices for the value of the experience. One vocab word you will need to learn for your visit to Tuscany is Agriturismo. You probably won’t need to actually pronounce this one but understanding its concept it key when choosing where to stay in Tuscany. Agriturismo combines the Italian words for agriculture and tourism. It’s the idea of staying in anything from humble to luxurious accommodations on a Tuscan farm, eating their farm fresh food, taking in their peaceful, serene environment, tasting wine, riding horses and enjoying whatever else the farm has to offer. I would book a stay in one of these for the entire summer if I could, because yes, they do have wifi.
And then there are the castles. Our room at the Castello Vicciomaggio was huge and it cost something around 100 euro/ $138 a night. The tour we took probably cost another $50 each and included wine tasting and lunch. The Castello Vicciomaggio was a fabulous experience that I highly recommend and from what I understand, there are many more options like it in Tuscany.
I did learn that navigating the endless websites for these accommodations can be tiring, so I suggest going straight to comparing and booking one of them on Hotels.com. You have TONS of places to choose from- all the info is right there- and Hotels.com has a really fun rewards program that is very similar to what you’ll find at an ice cream shop- collect 10 nights, get one free! Semplice. You’ll love it.
Here are a few accommodation suggestions to get you started.
Villa Vignamaggio-I see some canopy beds at this place and that makes me happy
Castello di Montegonzi-This one looks like a home sweet home and was going for $94 when I last checked!
Castello del Nero Hotel & Spa-5 Stars at this place, Tuscan Posh!
Locanda le Piazze-Just scroll through the photos for this one, you will fall in love
Fattoria di Corsignano-This one looks natural and welcoming